Staff Reporter

Rainwater harvesting will be promoted: Premachandran

KOCHI: Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran said here on Friday that the Government would soon set up a water authority to protect its rivers and water bodies. He said the construction rules would be amended to check groundwater depletion. Steps would also be taken to promote rainwater harvesting.

He was speaking after inaugurating the `Editor's Round Table on Water Crisis,' organised by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists.

Mr. Premachandran said the setting up the authority would help check sand-mining, waste disposal and illegal encroachment of water bodies.

The Minister said the members of the local bodies would be included in constituting the water authority. Watershed management would be encouraged to prioritise the use of water for agriculture, drinking and other purposes, he said. Though the State has 44 rivers, the quantity of water in them is less than that of the big rivers in the rest of the country.

Thomas Jacob, chairman, Kerala Press Academy, presided. S. Sankar, the Kerala Forest Research Institute, was the main speaker.

Mullaperiyar issue

The Minister told journalists that water could be siphoned off from the Mullaperiyar dam in an unauthorised manner.

Water, sourced out through a tunnel, could be regulated, he said.

The Tamil Nadu Government's demand to increase the height of the dam is to have more supply to reserve and produce hydel power, Mr. Premachandran said.

However, the fact that the dam cannot hold water over 136 feet is serious, he added.